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Arkansas State University

Understanding Information and Information Sources: Types of Information

Learn about different types of information and information sources as well as how information flows!

Types of Information

Knowing what type of information you need will help you decide which sources to use.  There are four types of information:
 

Factual

Factual information is information that solely deals with facts. It is short, non-explanatory, and rarely gives in-depth background on a topic.

Example: George A. Romero directed Night of the Living Dead.

Example Factual Resources: Encyclopedias, Almanacs, Government Resources, Statistics
 

Analytical  

Analytical information is the interpretation of factual information.  What does the factual information mean?  What does it imply?  This is the type of information that researchers generate in their studies. 

Example: According to a 2016 survey, pests are more frightening than zombies.1

Example Analytical Resources: Scholarly Journals. Academic and Scholarly Books. Library Databases. Some scholarly websites.
 

Subjective

Subjective information is information from only one point of view. Opinions are always subjective. 

Example: Z-Nation was an entertaining show that should have never been canceled.

Example Subjective Resources: Websites, Blogs, Social Media, Non-scholarly Books and Journals. Book Reviews.
 

Objective

Objective information is information that is understood from multiple viewpoints and presents all sides of an argument.

Example: While April enjoys zombie films, many people find them violent, pointless, and unnecessarily gory.

Example Objective Resources: Books, Journal Articles, Newspapers, Library Databases including Opposing Viewpoints and Facts on File.

1. Survey Finds Pests Are More Frightening Than Zombies, Tornadoes or a Celebrity Presidential Candidate. (2016). Marketwire Canada.

Why Does This Matter?

Knowing what type of information you need will help you determine the right resource to search for. This will save you a lot of time in your research process. For example if you know you need analytical information, you know to skip the fiction books and go to either OneSearch or a library database. On the other hand if you need objective information, maybe Google is the best starting place, not the library.